Here we are in the last week of February, and the Vernal Equinox is not far away - something we need to remind ourselves about, having been on the receiving end of some whopping great snowfalls in the last week or three.
Hedgerows and small trees disappeared entirely in some places, and in others, just the tips of branches were (and sometimes still are) poking out of drifts almost Himalayan in their bold stature. While shoveling, we chanted the mantra to ourselves over and over again that days are growing longer, but it will be some time before we sense real change in the air around us and notice sweeping changes in our native landscape. There are still a few snowfalls in our future - we are fairly certain of that.
Dear departing February is often the coldest month here in the north, a time of snow and penetrating cold. It's tempting to just remain indoors and curl up by the fire with tea and books, but we need our woodland rambles in Lanark. Snowy potterings among the trees and old stones nourish and sustain us - they keep us peaceable, and so we take them, even on the coldest days in winter.
"Crunch, crunch, crunch" went the snowshoes this week as we made our way through the woods. It may have been our imagination, but the snow seemed brighter and more brilliant than on forays just a few days ago. When there was sunlight, the fields glittered from here to there, and we felt as rich as old Croesus - as though every jeweler's vault on the planet had been looted and spilled out on the snow at our feet.
There was subtle shifting in wooded hollows, and the flickering movements were welcome to winter weary wanderers like ourselves. Here and there, sprigs of evergreen emerged from the azure snows, and the color was a hopeful thing, one that not even the biting north wind could carry away in its grasping gelid paws.